NSW MP: antisemitism shows the worst of humanity

October 16, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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A NSW had ttold parliament antisemitism “shows the worst of humanity and has ruined lives and taken lives”.

Natalie Ward

Liberal Member of Legislative Council Natalie Ward said “we enter a period of heightened anti-Semitism, not just in Australia but everywhere.”

She told the NSW Parliament: “Rather than comfortably attending their synagogue services or Jewish children going to school, the Jewish community is still haunted by hate. Specifically, this year some disturbing acts of hate—although I am sure there have been many more—are why I am talking about anti-Semitism. While I had other speeches I could have given tonight, I will not use my opportunity in this place to sit back and allow it to become routine. It is my moral obligation to draw everyone’s attention to this, to call it out when it happens and, most of all, to do everything in my power to stop this dangerous culture of hatred from taking over our world again. It is with profound grief that I elucidate these incidents.

The first incident in our country occurred in Melbourne, right next door to us. A 12-year-old boy, still in school, was allegedly lured to a park by a classmate with the promise of kick-to-kick football. Visualise it: With a history of ongoing bullying and anti-Semitism towards him, he was hoping to play some football with a classmate. Picture your son, your cousin, your friend; picture yourself at 12 years old in that position. You walk to the park with that promise, with the expectation to play football. And, at 12 years old, you get ambushed and surrounded by nine other 12- and 13-year-olds. You are scared—no, you are terrified. Why? You are told that you must grovel at the feet of another child and kiss his shoes—either that or get beaten up. That is exactly what happened. Then those same kids film and photograph the incident and post it on social media for the world to see.

Photo: Twitter

If that very thought does not make you sick, then knowing the young man will be haunted by this for the rest of his life should. How often will he relive the horror? How has his life been changed? Since this story was released the same boy has been receiving a series of threatening text messages, including death threats that he would be “slaughtered”. Kids are not born with hate, but clearly more needs to be done to teach acceptance at an early age.

Yet another incident took place in Hawthorn. A five-year-old boy has been diagnosed with acute anxiety and is now home schooled following a vicious and ongoing campaign of abuse by classmates calling him “a dirty Jew”, “Jewish vermin” and “a Jewish cockroach”. A five-year-old. He was mocked so harshly in the school bathrooms for being circumcised to the point that he wet himself out of fear of going to the bathroom. A five‑year‑old. How is it that here in Australia, in Melbourne, in 2019 we are reading that five-year-olds are using sentiments that mirror the language used in the holocaust? I commend the Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, for his call for Australians to be better educated about the holocaust.

Sadly, here in Sydney we have also had recent anti-Semitic incidents in the schoolyard. However, I note that this is an example of how a school can deal with a terrible situation appropriately. A recent incident entailed students at a leading Sydney school posting on Twitter, “Burn the Jews” and “Gas the Jews.” The school then rightly contacted the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which met with the students concerned in the company of the school authorities. After a candid and constructive meeting the school suspended the students and had them do 30 hours of community service—15 hours within the Jewish community and 15 hours in the wider community. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies subsequently received a letter from the mother of one of the students thanking the board for its handling of the issue. While anti-Semitism and hate will continue, we know there are appropriate ways to deal with it. I commend Mr Vic Alhadeff and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, but also the school and parents, for proactively dealing with this horrible situation.

Comments

3 Responses to “NSW MP: antisemitism shows the worst of humanity”
  1. Morris Givner says:

    Politicians and the media should publicly identify by name the religions and ideologies that advocate the killing of Jews,take the perpetrators to court and use the full weight of law,with heavy fines and jail sentences for those who want the repeat of the Holocaust in their nations and communities. We should all remember that the soil of Europe was prepared for over 1000 years before Hitler and his highly educated followers were able to convince the German nation from 1933 to 1945 to murder six million totally innocent men,women and children for one reason only-they were Jews.We must never forget that there were millions of nonGermans whi collaborated with Germany before and after WWII and gave total support to the German murderers in their planned and systematic efforts to eliminate all Jewry from the face of the Earth.Silence is interpreted as tacit approval. We must demand that the perpetrators of hate should pay a heavy price before their plans reach fruition.

  2. Liat Kirby says:

    Thank you so much for your support and your outspoken comments, Natalie Ward. Also the effort you made to imagine the horrific abuse these two boys suffered and put that into words.

    As you say, the increase in antisemitism is everywhere, which given Jewish history is a terrible thing to consider. Yours is a strong voice and a welcome one, however, the Australian media and most people without knowledge of the Jewish people are disinterested and prefer to focus on other forms of discrimination, almost as if antisemitism isn’t worth an outcry. This has to change.

    Most certainly kids are not born with hate, but they can be subjected to it within their family life and surrounds from a young age, and if five year old children are using Holocaust language of abuse, they are certainly getting it from somewhere. Perhaps that’s the elephant in the room?

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